Baseline to Baseline recaps: Where this Wall kid, we kind of like him

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What you missed while trying to wrap your head around the idea the T-Rex was probably covered with feathers

Our game of the night had the Jazz completing a sweep of Florida by beating the Magic. Get the details here.

Wizards 98, Rockets 91: Triple-double for young John Wall in this one — 20 points, 13 assists and 10 boards. From our friends at ESPN, only four players needed fewer games to get their first triple-double: Oscar Robertson, Hambone Williams, Magic Johnson and Connie Hawkins. Pretty nice company. Wall has the early ROY lead, but really we’re just entering the first turn of the race, Brandon Jennings led at this point last season.

Bucks 108, Hawks 91: The Bucks started 2-5 and you knew they were better than that. They won this one in large part because they got the offensve rebound on 30 percent of their missed shots, and Drew Gooden was a big part of that (he had 5 offensive rebounds alone). That was a quality pick up just starting to pan out. Same with Corey Maggette, who had 20 on 7-8 shooting.

Bobcats 101, Raptors 96: Charlotte’s defense still isn’t where it needs to be, but for one night their offense can carry them through, with six guys scoring in double figures. Although, that may just be because they played the Raptors.

Nets 95, Cavaliers 87: New Jersey won this one on the offensive glass, grabbing the board on 31 percent of their missed shots. Really, Kris Humphries won that, with six offensive boards himself. He completely outplayed teammate Brook Lopez inside, which says more about Brook right now than anything. Tough season so far for the Lopez brothers.

Warriors 122, Knicks 117: David Lee returns to NYC and drops 28 on the team that let him go, but it wasn’t personal. Right. Well, part of it was no Ronny Turiaf, who was resting his knee and without him nobody protects the rim for the Knicks. Monta Ellis played for Golden State, not even missing a game after that awkward fall, and he dropped 22.  Danilo Gallinari is killing my fantasy team… I just wanted to get that off my chest.

Thunder 109, Sixers 103: No Andre Igudala, out injured for the Sixers. Plenty of Russell Westbrook abusing Lou Williams and everyone else, he dropped 31. Jrue Holliday acquitted himself nicely on offense with 17 and 11 dimes, but did we mention Westbrook did what he wanted on offense?

Spurs 107, Clippers 95: This makes 18 in a row for the Spurs over the Clippers. What else do I need to say?

Mavericks 106, Grizzlies 91: Dirk Nowitzki turned an ankle in this one and was never comfortable, going 6-14 shooting. But the Mavs are deep — Shawn Marion drops 20, the Jet gives them 25 off the bench. That depth serves the Mavs very well in the regular season.

Minnesota 98, Kings 89: Kevin Love goes for 23 and 24 last night in 38 minutes, so tonight Kurt Rambis benches him for 12 minutes in the second half and gives him just 28 minutes. When Love returns in the fourth quarter he scores 8 more points and is a +5 for that stretch. I give up trying to figure it out.

But really, this is the Michael Beasley show, he puts up 42 in one of those performances that explains why he was drafted No. 2 overall. Don’t get sucked in though, for the season he has not been good, got to do it more than one night in this league, On the other side of the ball Tyreke Evans tweaked an ankle but still scored 16 points on 8-of-14 shooting, however had just one assist on the night, not getting teammates involved. One guy who is fitting in for the Kings is Samuel Dalembert who had 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting with nine rebounds.

Anthony Davis says his goal is to play in all 82 games

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Anthony Davis played 40 games last season, and 36 the season before that. Charles Barkley has nicknamed him “street clothes.”

In a critical season for him and the Lakers, the biggest question with Anthony Davis is not his skill set and if he can be elite, but how much can the Lakers trust him to be on the court? Davis said on media day his goal is to play all 82 games (speaking to Spectrum Sportsnet, the Lakers station in Los Angeles).

A full 82 may be optimistic, but Davis saw last season as a fluke.

“Last season, I had two injuries that you can’t really control. I mean, a guy fell into my knee, landed on the foot,” Davis said earlier at media day. “And the good thing for me is that the doctors after they looked at us, they could have been, like 10 times worse.”

Davis talked about his workout regimen, getting his body both rested and stronger for this long season, knowing more will be asked of him. New coach Darvin Ham wants to run more of the offense through Davis, but all the Lakers’ plans are moot if Davis and LeBron James are not healthy and on the court for at least 65 games this season.

“The focus of my game is being available…” LeBron said Monday. “Availability is the most important thing in his league and to be able to be available on the floor.”

Ham has to walk a line of pushing this team to defend better, show a toughness it lacked last season, and make the playoffs in a deep West while keeping his stars’ minutes under control. In a league all about recovery, the Lakers need to prioritize that, too.

“Just being efficient with how we practice, how we manage shootarounds, how we manage their minutes,” Ham said Monday. “I don’t need ‘Bron or Ad playing playoff minutes in October, November, December.”

It’s the first days of training camp, everyone is feeling good, everyone is rested, and everyone is optimistic. The real tests for the Lakers and Davis start in a few weeks — and just how much will the Lakers’ stars play.

Report: Celtics reach out to former assistant Larranaga about joining Mazzulla’s staff

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The Boston Celtics are reportedly looking for a veteran assistant to put on the bench next to 34-year-old Joe Mazzulla, the man thrust into the head coach’s chair for a title contender in the wake of Ime Udoka’s suspension.

Who better than a guy who spent nine years on the Celtics’ bench? Boston reached out to Jay Larranaga, currently on the Clippers bench, about returning to the East Coast, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The Clippers had no turnover on Tyronn Lue’s staff heading into this season. Mazzulla has become a trusted member of the Clippers staff, working a lot with the big me on the roster. However, if the Celtics back up the Brink’s Truck, the Clippers will not stand in his way if he wants to leave. It’s a question of comfort level, lifestyle, and of course money for Larranaga.

The Celtics made Mazzulla their interim head coach after an investigation found a “volume of violations” of team policy by Udoka, who had an improper relationship with a team staff member. So far the Celtics and Udoka have been able to keep the details of what happened under wraps, but league sources described the situation to NBC Sports as “ugly” and “messy,” especially if/when those details do find their way to the public.

For Celtics players, just getting back on the court, practicing Tuesday and focusing on basketball — not the turmoil around the franchise — was a good thing.

“Once we got out on the court, it was just nice to get back out the court and review our defense and to talk about offense and doing what we do,” Al Horford told the Associated Press. “It’s a good thing to just play basketball. That’s what we’re here for. It’s important to just start this thing back up again.”

Getting another coach on the bench will be important for the Celtics as well.

Hawks trade Harkless, second-round pick to Thunder for Vit Krejci

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The Atlanta Hawks just saved some money, getting under the luxury tax line. The Oklahoma City Thunder picked up a second-round pick for their trouble of taking on a contract.

The Hawks have traded Moe Harkless and a second-round pick to the Thunder for Vit Krejci the teams announced (Shams Charania of The Athletic was first).

This saves Atlanta a little over $3 million, which moves them from above the luxury tax line to $1.3 million below it. While the almighty dollar was the primary motivation in the ATL, the Hawks also pick up a development project. Krejci showed a little promise in his rookie season, appearing in 30 games and averaging 6.2 points plus 3.4 rebounds a night, before having his knee scoped in April.

Krejci was on the bubble of making the team in Oklahoma City, now the Thunder pick up a second-round pick for a guy they might have waived anyway.

Harkless, 29, is on an expiring $4.6 million contract, which fits nicely into the Disabled Player Exception the Thunder were granted for Chet Holmgren’s season-ending foot injury.

The Thunder are expected to waive Harkless and buy him out, making him a free agent. However, they could keep him and see if another trade could net them another second-round pick.

Lonzo Ball says ‘I can’t run’ or jump; Bulls’ Donovan has to plan for extended absence

Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
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Officially, Lonzo Ball will be out 4-6 weeks after getting his knee scoped this week.

However, this is his second surgery on his left knee this year — he had meniscus surgery in January, after which he was never able to return to the court — and there are concerns Ball could miss significant time again. And coach Billy Donovan has no choice but to plan for an extended absence.

Ball did a Zoom call with reporters on Tuesday and it’s hard to come away from what he said overly optimistic. Rob Schaefer reported on the call for NBC Sports Chicago:

“Literally, I really can’t run. I can’t run or jump. There’s a range from, like, 30 to 60 degrees when my knee is bent that I have, like, no force and I can’t, like, catch myself. Until I can do those things I can’t play,” Ball said. “I did rehab, it was getting better, but it was not to a point where I could get out there and run full speed or jump. So surgery is the next step.”

The symptoms are something Ball said he has never dealt with and have left doctors, in his words, “a little surprised.”

It’s never good when doctors are surprised. Ball said the doctors don’t see anything on the MRI, but there is clearly something wrong, so they are going in and looking to find the issue and fix it.

Ball has been diligent in his recovery work from the start, the problem was pain in his knee. Something was still not right after the first surgery. Whatever it is.

The 4-6 week timeline would have Ball back in early November, but you know they will be overly cautious with him after the past year. Coach Billy Donovan was honest — he has to plan for a season without Ball.

The Bulls need Ball in a deep and challenging East. He brings defense, pushes the pace in transition, and takes care of the rock. Chicago has other players who can do those things individually — Alex Caruso can defend, Coby White pushes in transition, Goran Dragic takes care of the ball — but the Bulls lack one player who can do all those things. At least they lack one until Ball returns.

Whenever that may be.